Global airlines will end the year losing more than $100 billion this year, and it could even rise to as much as $118 billion, according to the latest forecasts from International Air Transport Association (IATA).
That’s significantly higher than it had projected earlier. Prior to the second lockdown, IATA had projected loses for airlines at $84 billion but this new projection could be $34 billion higher.
The hopes of the airline industry are significantly linked to the success of a vaccine. In the UK airlines have seen some optimism with the announcement that Air travellers can pay for a private Covid-19 test to half the 14-day quarantine.
The industry body now expects airlines to lose another $38 billion in 2021, compared to its previous forecast of just $15 billion. Although a significantly reduced amount, it is still “much more than what the industry lost in the previous crises of 9/11 and the global financial crisis,” said Pearce.
When will fliers return?
Passenger numbers are expected to rise to 2.8 billion in 2021. That would be 1 billion more than in 2020, but still 1.7 billion travellers short of 2019’s. Cargo will continue to perform well, partly due to the role it will play in upcoming vaccine distribution. The International Airlines Travel Association IATA expects volumes to grow to 61.2 million tonnes next year, matching the 61.3 million tonnes in 2019.
Qantas makes vaccine mandatory
Tens of thousands of conspiracy theorists encouraged their Facebook followers to vote on online polls to say they would abandon travel plans instead of being immunised.
A Current Affair poll titled ‘will you take the vaccine to travel internationally?’ was taken over by responses from anti-vaxxer groups, with 88 per cent saying they wouldn’t fly overseas with the airline.
The CEO of Qantas, Alan Joyce, He predicted the rule would become standard practice around the world as governments and airlines consider introducing electronic vaccination passports.
Sewage testing on planes, monitoring ankle bracelets and DNA testing are also being considered to keep passengers safe.